The Decent Homes programme means avocado bath suites are out and water-saving dual-flush loos are in, but ultra-eco-friendly technology in the home does have its downsides...

It was while I was writing an article on the Decent Homes programme that I realised just how indecent my own 1970s built home was. My original part-fitted kitchen, single glazed windows and the avocado bathroom suite I’d always considered coolly retro in a cheesy way meant I was falling below government standards, which set 20 years as the use-by date for kitchens and bathrooms. As a housing journalist, I felt it my duty to embark on my very own Decent Homes programme, so the bathroom and kitchen are being fitted with white, eco-friendly, government-compliant replacements. I’m going over budget with the abandon of the Scottish Parliament, but frankly who cares (apart from my bank manager)?

The only thing that worries me is whether it all works. I can whip up a cooked breakfast for my boyfriend in the time it takes my energy-efficient condensing combi boiler to run a bath. My water-saving dual-flush toilet looks gorgeous, but its flushing power would appal a Victorian sanitation engineer and its pretty press buttons don’t fit into their plastic casing. I’m wasting water and my guests are learning how to juggle loo flush buttons that fly into the air after being pressed.

My new technology may cost less than it would have done 30 years ago, looks more stylish and, in theory, it is more environmentally friendly. But, it doesn’t score highly on functionality. Give me Boney M and a flushing toilet any day.